Vanity Fair is well-known for their photographs of celebrities. Mostly because of their photographer, Annie Leibovitz. She takes a lot of the photos for the feature stories and they’re usually blown up across a spread with the type placed right on top of it, so the title still holds control of the page.
VF also frequently uses illustrations in their front-of-book pieces. They vary between black and white and color, but they’re usually all large illustrations. Their shape depends on the article because if the article is text-heavy, the illustration will be a silhouette that’s just accompanying the text. However, if there is less text, the illustration will be a wide rectangle taking up a good portion of the page. I think whether it is text-heavy also has to do with whether the illustration is in black or white. If there is a lot of text, the illustration will be in black and white, so it doesn’t take too much attention away from the words. If there’s less text, the illustration will show color to draw focus to it.
When VF has infographics to accompany a feature story, they usually have small, silhouetted images that don’t take too much attention away from the text, but also add something visual to a text-heavy page. They also always use silhouetted medium-sized images for their “beauty” pages to showcase products. They contrast this by having facial pictures in circles and cropped into close-up shots.
Every story will have an accompanying image, but not every page will have one. This is smart because it doesn’t make the magazine feel too cluttered.
My favorite use of images is in the way they usually do their profiles on celebrities. They usually wrap the text around a large silhouette of the person, which really gives this sense of “power” to the celebrity. At the same time, since the image is so large, they put it in black and white so it wasn’t too “in your face.”
Their use of images always works for me because it’s obvious how the image relates to the theme of the text.